Cementing your love for coffee (via The Think Tank Blog)

Last week, I had 12 hours of Blue Bottle Cafe insight. I learned how to taste excellent, not so good, over extracted and under extracted espresso as well as how to make one cup of coffee at a time. Not to mention becoming a Blue Bottle junkie.

And here is another reason why to quit drugs for coffee: a beautiful and unique espresso maker … mmm I can smell the chocolate tones and taste the blackberry in this concrete made machine.

Now, off to Blue Bottle for a deliciously made cappuccino …

Shmuel Linski has designed a fantastic coffee maker using concrete. Not a very portable machine but a great addition to any urban kitchen, the Expresso Solo machine only makes expresso but will certainly look great in the kitchen. See how it was made on Yanko Design. … Read More

via The Think Tank Blog


4 thoughts on “Cementing your love for coffee (via The Think Tank Blog)

  1. We purchased this machine about a month ago. Granted, the first one we received was broken – we had two engineers, a couple of account managers and an IT guy trying to fix it, but they couldn’t. We called Amazon and received the working one two business days later.

    WOW. I can’t tell you how much espresso we’ve gone through in the past month. The machine is easy to use, and it’s actually kinda fun! With one push of a button, you have a professional quality espresso in less than a minute. The milk frothing takes longer, but if you haven’t had your espresso yet, it’s not too difficult to wait. 🙂 There are three options – espresso (strong), coffee (espresso with a little more water) and long coffee (I looked it up – it’s basically a weaker, more bitter espresso with twice the volume of water). I’ve learned how to make an Americano just like at Starbucks, and it’s cheaper and more convenient. Yes, the machine itself is expensive – but I’ll get into that later.

    I’ve seen several reviews here that say the Milk Island is useless – all of us at the office think it’s a VERY cool gadget. As long as you make sure the light is green and you don’t overfill the carafe (the “MAX” line is there for a reason), it works perfectly. We haven’t had a single issue. It froths the milk very well, and if you don’t like as much foam, you can turn it off before it finishes its cycle. Also, I’ve seen that “oily” beans supposedly don’t work well – we’ve been through two bags of “oily” espresso beans from Cost Plus and they didn’t jam the machine or cause any problems. Yes, we also ordered a bag of the Lavazza Super Crema, but when it’s gone we’ll just run up the street and get more Cost Plus beans.

    I worked it out – a Starbucks latte costs roughly $4. A homemade latte costs $0.40. Taking into account the high cost (and high quality) of this machine, and the number of espressos/lattes we make daily, I figure this machine will pay for itself in about three months. Of course, that isn’t such a good thing for Starbucks…but it’s great for us!

  2. During the past few years I’ve changed 4 coffee grinders and 5 espresso machines trying to find a combo, which would be able to produce professional quality cappuccino and espresso shots. I wasn’t satisfied till I bought Gaggia MDF Burr grinder and Gaggia Classic espresso machine (~$700 for both). I am happy now.

    I can make myself an espresso shot with quality comparable to what I would get in Florence or Venice. The machine has a powerful 17.5 bar pump (most others are built on 15 bar pumps), 3-way solenoid valve, heavy-duty commercial portafilter… People complain about the milk frother, but in my opinion it’s pretty good; it allows you to quickly produce wonderful creamy froth.

  3. I spent my Christmas 2009 reviewing expresso machines. I had just returned from a trip to Europe and finally was going to fold and get an expresso machine. I missed the expresso from Italy and France. 1oz of crema delight.

    So, I liked the Breville from all the reviews but was worried about some of the negativity on the “wet puck” I had read. All the reviews mentioned excellent coffee though, so it was on my short list.

    Then I saw the Breville BES860XL, also known as the Barista Express Programmable Expresso. From the looks you can tell this unit has exchanged the hot water dispenser for a bean grinder. This unit is a fully automatic expresso machine with the super automatic feature of grinding a pre-measure of beans for your brew. Note, it is not a super automatic machine as you still need to manually mount the portafilter into the group head, and clean the filter afterwards. This is as automatic as you will want to go if you want to really control your coffee.

    But, let me walk you through the pleasure:
    1. the box. this has excellent graphics — even as you open, the getting started guide and pictures guide you along. The unit removes easily.
    2. The tamper is magnetically held in place on the front of the machine — you can use it in place or remove for manual tamping.
    3. New: -there is a dry puck feature now for all the fussy reviews — this removes excess water so you get, a dry puck
    – an excellent burr grinder — you can dismantle this for cleaning, and it has a wide range of control
    – for those that previously complained about the “cheat” dual wall filters — the unit comes with single and double dual wall AND single wall filters
    – there is a hideaway storage tray to hold all the small goodies
    4. Steaming — excellent steam temperature and pressure — works very well with the provided frothing jug, very minimal excess water to start
    5. The real test. I am using the dual wall filters, and the Illy whole expresso beans I got from Italy were made into pure heavenly expresso. Nice crema. This is the real thing.

    This is one finely engineered machine. From a mechanically inclined electrical engineer to the folks at Breville: you have created an exceptionally functional piece that does the job. Did I mention it is beautiful on the counter as well? I have it on an island, no bad sides.

    Drawbacks: none. BUT, when making a real expresso shot, make sure you pre-warm your demitasse. Otherwise the expresso will heat up your cup and your coffee will not be hot. I run a water cycle first into my cup to heat up the group head and the cup.

    In my opinion this is the best buy in the market under $1500. At the office, daily I use a super automatic machine that is at that top end.

  4. I purchased this machine for my husband and myself after Christmas to replace our 2 yr. old Gaggia Coffee Deluxe. We had so many problems with the Gaggia we gave up on making a good non stovetop espresso. We found it in the ENA 3. We chose the ENA 3 because it was affordable and we really didn’t need the express frother and the few other features the ENA 5 had.

    We are thrilled with the ease of use and the easy to follow instructions. We have tried several different beans and they have all produced a great cup of espresso with great crema. We have made espresso, cappuccino, lattes and hot chocolate. They have all turned out superb. The machine is almost self cleaning. It rinses after heating just before making the first cup and when you shut the machine down. You only have to dump the grounds and clean the drip trays from the rinsing. A very easy process. The unit came with a great DVD, clearyl water filter and 2 cleaning tablets.

    We now start our day with an espresso and another in the afternoon. It is just so simple to use and we are really enjoying our cups of coffee.

    We would highly recommend this machine.

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